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Perceived value in classroom contact: rising to the challenge of learner disengagement

Whitton, NJ and Langan, AM (2017) Perceived value in classroom contact: rising to the challenge of learner disengagement. In: Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE) International Annual Research Conference 2016, 06 December 2016 - 08 December 2017, Newport, Wales.

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Abstract

Higher Education globally is becoming increasingly accountable to output metrics, such as those that purport to encapsulate teaching quality and student satisfaction, leading to increased discourses of value-for-money. Despite the significant costs of university courses and links between class participation and attainment, many students chose not to take full advantage of the scheduled classes available to them. In this paper, we present the findings from student-led interviews with forty-seven undergraduates. Primary reasons for not engaging with learning opportunities highlighted the key role of assessment in shaping student value judgements. This included the attribution of perceived additional value to learning experiences related directly to assessment, and the prioritisation of assessment activities over participation at taught classes. We conclude by discussing these instrumental assessment-driven behaviours in the context of an increasingly outcome-driven global Higher Education sector, and the problematic nature of learner freedom.

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